Abstract

This article engages with the main issues explored in Thinking Literature across Continents (Duke University Press, 2016) coauthored by Ranjan Ghosh and J. Hillis Miller. It focuses on the ways in which Ghosh's and Miller's partial agreements and not fully incommensurable disagreements—about what literature means, its pedagogic possibilities and critical methodologies, its ethical function, and its relationship to globalization in the world today—are not only dialogic but also dialectic. If dialogue is personal and involves individuals with unique perspectives and orientations, then dialectic seems impersonal and pertains to the movement of truth in an agon of individual viewpoints and background assumptions. In particular, the article contextualizes and reflects on the respective methods of Ghosh (transcultural theoretical “[in]fusion”) and Miller (inductive close reading or rhetorical reading) in the light of the back-and-forth movement of the hermeneutic circle. The article emphasizes the dialectic complementarity and mutual necessity of their different approaches.

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